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China League One: Choosing the best games in Round 20

Hunan Xiangtao (2nd) vs. Shanghai East Asia (1st)

The game of the week by absolute country mile is the clash between the two top teams in the division after Hunan reclaimed second position in the division after dismantling Beijing Baxy 3-0 . As well as the battle for control of the CL1 table, the tie also represents a clash between arguably two of the division’s best players – Hunan’s Emil Martinez and East Asia’s Wu Lei.

For both teams though, this game has come at the worst possible time for them. Previously high-flying, inconsistencies and poor away form have derailed both sides in the last four games so neither is coming into this game with any real confidence. Instead, a game with so much on the table for the winner is now going to come down to a straight forward street-fight – whichever team shows up the strongest on the day will be the victor.

In terms of who that will be, remains to be seen although Hunan should have the advantage due to their outstanding run at home. Not only are they undefeated in Changsha this season but their home record since Hunan was promoted back into CL1 back in 2010 has been fantastic in three years, the team has only lost five times at home. With that in mind, Hunan are the narrow favorites but it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that East Asia could hold out for a draw.

Chongqing Lifan (5th) vs. Wuhan Zull (3rd)

Another massive clash between two sides very much in the promotion discussion, Chongqing are another of the teams that still have their unbeaten home record going into the twentieth game of the season and represent a huge challenge for Wuhan to overcome.

Moreover, having only lost one league game since April, Lifan remain arguably the most difficult team to play in the division. Regular readers of this column will know the formula by now but Chongqing remain an extremely challenging obstacle to any team they come up against. Brazilians Augusto and Nei plus the former Chengdu Blades striker Brendon Santalab are key to Lifan, who have scored twenty-nine goals already this season (second best in the league) but also concede a lot as well (twenty-five goals – sixth worst), meaning that the average Chongqing game is always fun for the neutral spectator.

Wuhan, who lost away to Guangdong Sunray Cave last week, have already beaten their hosts once this season (a 1-0 victory in April) but coming to Chongqing will be a different story. Their recent rise up the table has come about through a relatively easy set of games against weaker teams so taking on Lifan will be a hard match and one this writer expects them to lose.

Hohhot Dongjin (15th) – Shenzhen Ruby (6th)

Shenzhen’s latest slip-up, this time at Chongqing FC, means that their visit to Inner Mongolia has extra importance as the final third of the season gets underway.

With Shenzhen’s 4-5-1 formation built for ruthless, smash-and-grab football, Phillippe Troussier shouldn’t be too nervous about his visit to the North especially now that Babacar Gueye is coming into form but the hosts certainly can’t be taken lightly,  indeed,  the uncertain home conditions have tripped up more than one side this season.

Moreover, Hohhot are only goal difference away from getting out of the relegation zone so Shenzhen can expect an aggressive approach from their hosts. The experienced duo of Luciano Olguin and Yovanny Arrechea upfront can certainly get goals and will be a dangerous proposition for the visitors.

A Shenzhen victory seems the likeliest of outcomes but given their erratic form of late, don’t be surprised if Ruby drop points.

A passionate fan of the beautiful game, Andrew Crawford has lived a somewhat nomadic existance for the last few years that has involved stays in various corners of Africa, Asia and Europe. His most treasured footballing experiences are watching Hibernian beat Celtic 3-2 in front of a packed Easter Road during his university days and his time as the content writer for Nairobi City Stars, a Nairobi-based team based in the Kawangare slums who play in the Kenyan Premier League.

A football polygamist, he always keeps an eye on the fortunes of the various teams who’ve stole his heart during his childhood and then subsequent manhood; Cambridge United, Ryman League’s finest, Bury Town, Hibernian and Nairobi City Stars. Though recently arrived in Shanghai, he has already become addicted to the atmosphere at the Honkou and looks forward to watching his new team at every chance he gets.

He is also runs and writes for sharkfinhoops.com, the only English-speaking website about the fortunes of the Shanghai Sharks basketball team. You should check that out as well.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Yiddo Huayi

    03/08/2012 at 08:59

    It’s a shame that there are no live streams of the games (and also that they will be four hours behind where I am). Hunan – Shanghai looks like a humdinger.

    Would like to see Shenzhen come away with no points and Chongqing FC to grab 3 away to Shenyang to keep them in sight of 2nd spot.

  2. Yiddo Huayi

    05/08/2012 at 05:50

    China One getting more congested now. East Asia won’t be pleased!

  3. BulaimeiShanghai

    06/08/2012 at 15:50

    Hey mate,

    I am not sure where you are at the moment and your accessibility, but there is a good chance to see East Asia’s matches on the local Shanghai Sports TV each time when they play, maybe not now since the Olympics take much of the attention. This could be accessed through PPTV, as you might know. Since there is a section where you can see whatever is being broadcasted at any channel at the moment, in the case of last game for example, you check what is broadcasted on the Hunan Sports Channel. Baidu has a lot options where you can look find out about all the local sports channels and watch them live, and I think the name of the Sports Channel is probably consisting everywhere of the same parts. Shanghai Ti Yu, Guangdong Ti Yu, Beijing Ti Yu Dian Tai and so on< I believe…You could be able to find them.

    It could be handy if clubs would report on their website with their fixture to let the audience wherever a game is being broadcasted.

    I am thinking of going to their home next Sunday, could be fun. Saw them in the Stadium against Sunray Cave, the football is not bad…

    • Yiddo Huayi

      06/08/2012 at 17:18

      Cheers for that.

      Unfortunately I am in New Zealand (新西兰), in an interminably long off-season for the A-League (only two months to go, four months gone).

      I can find live streams of SOME CSL games but none for China One (not that I’ve looked recently), but also as I’m four hours ahead of China the games are usually on when I am asleep.

      I really only keep watch on Guangzhou Fuli since my father helped build the stadium and also Chongqing FC since NZ striker Chris Killen plays for them.

      • BulaimeiShanghai

        09/08/2012 at 20:18

        No worries, mate. You mean your father was involved in the construction of the new stadium in the University Town or the old stadium in the park (wonderful place, I had the luck to see a game there once and hope it will be utilised in the future for other sporting events)?

        Good luck to New Zealander Chris Killen at Chongqing (Lifan?), no doubt a football market and there is some not unfounded hope for some CSL action anytime soon.

        Yes, the action will start in Europe soon as well, has been a long wait and for a German fan who received a tough bruising from Italy during this summer’s EUROs, it has been too long already. 😉

        New Zealand, definetely a place I really would want to visit one day. Is it a New Zealand team you are following in the A-League? I think there are one or two? Take care!

        Btw. we once had a fantastic New Zealand in our books at Bremen for five years until the mid-90s, during the most successful spell at the club. His name was Wynton Rufer, what a skillful striker, who made a teenager’s dreams come true in those days.

        • Yiddo Huayi

          10/08/2012 at 11:46

          He helped build the old stadium.

          Only one NZ team in the A-League: The Wellington Phoenix. Always looked down upon by our noisy arrogant neighbours over the ditch, but we enjoy pumping them when they come over to play us.

          Wynton Rufer is a footballing legend here. I saw him in his international debut when he helped the All Whites qualify for the 1982 WC in Spain. His team mate Ricki Herbert has been the coach for the Phoenix since they were formed 5 years ago.

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